I meant when I said that i would give as much of my effort as possible over the next month to highlighting BIPOC (black indigenous persons of color, a term I only recently learned as I started research in this space) food creators over the entirety of June as my show of solidarity with what’s going on in America right now, and we begin that process by highlighting a James Beard Award nominated writer and cookbook author, Nicole A. Taylor.
Nicole is our first creator to be highlighted because up until the moment of this pandemic, she occupied an otherwise very white space at the publication Thrillist. Here, she wrote articles that made her a James Beard Award Nominated writer and navigated the space by bringing other black writers into the spotlight for regular publication. She fought the good fight before I realized there was a fight to be made in this space. Nicole is no longer an employee of Thrillist, having been laid off in April like many Americans, but that hasn’t stopped her from using her platform for good.
Her twitter feed, @foodculturist, is a buzzing place filled with writing about the current moment in the world. At the moment, much of it is from other writers, but that doesn’t matter. She’s a known voice helping to amplify other voices, and through that remains a catalyst for change in a turbulent era in American History.
Although she is no longer a member of Thrillist, her personal work before that spans many years and media outlets. She is most well known for a podcast called Hot Grease, which can be found archived on soundcloud. It does not appear that this podcast has seen recent updates, but the content remains relevant if you are, like me, beginning to research African-American cooking in earnest.
She is also the author of the Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen, which is deeply on sale on Amazon at the moment. If you are able, you can also look for this book at bookstores owned by black businessmen within your own community. This cookbook is on its way to me as I write this short article.
I could hardly mourn the passing of ten dollars to support a black creator within what I consider to be my own space, food writing, even when my own circumstances are not so great. Many of us are hurting financially from job loss, unemployment problems, and the many other challenges of the pandemic. If you cannot part with the dollars to check out her cookbook, much of her writing is available for viewing for free online, and her twitter account is home to many of those links.
With this in mind, please know that I am learning. I’ve spent most of my life pretending I could be apolitical without causing harm, but that’s clearly not the case. I will speak through my learning and direct attention to the people that know much better than me about the things that I care about, and for me, that means highlighting what’s being done in food media by people of color in our country when the world is falling apart.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!